Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Previous political experience: None
Previous community experience: Strong supporter and participant of village programs
Education: B.A.-Business Administration & Economics/Hillsdale College-Hillsdale, MI. M.A.-Economics/Eastern Illinois University-Charleston, IL
What can the village realistically do to promote and encourage economic development, and where should those efforts be focused?
Long Term–The major block with development is land. The village needs to acquire as much as it can, primarily along Ogden Ave.. That said, it needs to look at its zoning laws to accomendate new business. Also, the village needs to reduce local regulations on businesses-to maintain and attract new ones-and look into tax incentives for development. Short Term–The village needs to market itself, mainly in partnership with the zoo. This can be done by starting with something as simple as billboard size maps of the village with directories to its restuarants, shops, etc at both zoo entrances. Even have the businesses offer discounts with proof of a zoo visit. This would, I believe increase spending greatly in the village.
What are your thoughts on recent park improvements and how should additional improvements be approached and funded in coming years?
I feel that they are a good start in developing the parks, although not sure of the monster cost of the new refreshment building. I feel the parks are a big part in long term economic development and future improvements should be looked at with more diversity-I believe now we have far to many baseball fields which some could be used for other recreation. As far as funding; grants, village funds, and depending on the scope of improvements even bonds.
How should Brookfield fund and schedule necessary repairs to streets and other infrastructure?
Funding by grants, village reserves and borrowing through bonds, loans, etc.. Money as a commodity is as cheap as it will basically get. The village needs to invest in its infrastructure as much and as soon as possible-Another factor in economic development.
What changes, if any, would you recommend in the makeup of the village’s administrative organization? Why?
I would need to take a deeper look into the work loads of the administration to analyze changes in size. However, I would recommend hiring a consultant or professional grant writer, as I feel the village is extremely weak in this area.
What is the most important issue facing the village in the next four years? What should be done about it?
Increase revenues without tax hikes-Start aggressively now on economic development.
Are there any spending cuts or increases you would recommend? Are any areas off limits?
Yes, quite a few cuts. For example, purchases of vechiles not needed, such as the new suv bought for the new public works director for $28,000. Another example is to cut tuition and book grants. I do not feel it is the burden of the village citizens to pay for post secondary school for village employees. No areas are off limits, never say never.
Should Brookfield seek a property tax referendum to increase operational revenues? Why or why not?
No, we do not need to raise property taxes, they are already a huge strain on majority of the people. We must learn to work with what we have and be fiscally responsible.
What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?
Water, sewer, garbage, etc costs to be adressed with extreme caution and just pass through costs only at best. Also, medical and pension cost willl be a big issue. Employees need to contribute more. Just to name a few.